Bell Shakespeare's King Lear

Rebecca Varidel
15th Feb 2024

Bell Shakespeare announces cast for King Lear 

- An intimate staging of Shakespeare’s epic, for the company’s first production of the play in over a decade - 

Image: Robert Menzies as King Lear. Photo by Pierre Toussaint

Bell Shakespeare has today announced the cast for King Lear. For the first time since 2010, the company re-explores Shakespeare’s epic of the imagination, staging the play in an intimate setting as Australian audiences won’t have seen it before.

This heart-wrenching new production promises to be powerful and utterly unforgettable, presented in Sydney at The Neilson Nutshell from 14 June to 20 June. Single tickets are now on sale.

Directed by Artistic Director Peter Evans, the production stars veteran actor of the stage Robert Menzies as the mad monarch King Lear. Menzies brings a brilliant and entirely unique interpretation to the character, reflecting his four decades of experience working on some of the great productions in Australia’s theatre history, collaborating with acclaimed theatre makers including Barrie Kosky, Jim Sharman and Jean-Pierre Mignon.

Menzies is joined onstage by Melissa Kahraman as Cordelia and Fool, known for her recent television roles in Stan series Prosper and Bad Behaviour, and Andrea Demetriades as Goneril, who appeared recently in Hulu’s The Artful Dodger.

Artistic Director Peter Evans said: “If one were to describe the plot of King Lear it could sound like a fairytale or the set-up for a joke: three sisters – one good, two evil – a controlling father, a fool, a storm. But in the hands of Shakespeare, the complexities and nuances of this great play create an astonishing portrait of a family and a country torn apart. All our assumptions are upended, our loyalties tested, the depth of our emotions revealed. As in the best of Shakespeare, we can find ourselves in the unlikeliest of characters and situations.

“For this production, we wanted audiences to be close to the action and the actors in the intimate settings of The Neilson Nutshell and the Fairfax Studio. You’ll be immersed in the domestic tragedy and get the opportunity to see one of Australia’s finest classical actors Robert Menzies as he tackles one of the great roles in Western theatre.”


The Neilson Nutshell, Pier 2/3 Sydney | (Previews 14 – 16 June) 20 June – 20 July

Tickets available at


Robert Menzies as King Lear

Tamara Lee Bailey as Regan 

Shameer Birges as Albany 

Jeremi Campese as Oswald

Andrea Demetriades as Goneril

Melissa Kahraman as Cordelia and Fool

Alex King as Edgar and France
James Lugton as Gloucester

Michael Wahr as Cornwall

Janine Watson as Kent

Darius Williams as Edmund


Director Peter Evans

Designer Anna Tregloan

Lighting Designer Benjamin Cisterne

Composer and Sound Designer Max Lyandvert


Bell Shakespeare is Australia’s national theatre company specialising in the works of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Founded in 1990 with the aim of sharing Shakespeare’s plays in a way that was relevant and exciting to all Australians, the company has evolved further than its visionary founder, John Bell AO, could have hoped.

Today, Bell Shakespeare tours major theatre productions, education programs and outreach initiatives to every state and territory in Australia. Performing and teaching in theatres, schools, juvenile justice centres and regional and remote communities, the company enjoys unrivalled reach and impact, further extending its influence through innovative digital programs.